Posts Tagged ‘Lebron James’

The Point Four-ward: Live Life and Let Griffin

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) One thing I keep coming back to when looking at the Cavs roster with their bevy of free agents, both restricted and non, and a couple of preferable, if not glaring, holes to be filled before the team tips off their new season around Halloween 2015: if I can predict it, that probably means it’s not going to happen.

I’m not talking about the obvious moves here. I’m not talking about whatever deal the team gives to Kevin Love… or Tristan Thompson… or LeBron James. Those are all likely to happen and they’re likely to happen in one of only a few different ways.

James will (most likely) sign another two-year deal featuring a player option for the second year that will allow his Highness, The King, to continue to maximize his maximum contract status as the salary cap grows over the next several years.

Of course, he could sign elsewhere. But not really.

Or he could sign a multi-year contract. But, again, not really.

James will, as expected, remain a Cavalier… a fact that, admittedly, would have been quite unexpected to imagine writing at this time last year.

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Your Comprehensive 2015 Cavs Free Agency Guide

Monday, June 29th, 2015

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Well, Jensen Karp blew up Twitter last night when he tweeted a get-together pic between KLove and the King (pic edited). I guess that’s as good a way as any to kick off the madness that will be the 2015 NBA free agency period. So, release the NBA suits! In less than 48 hours, teams can start recruiting free agents (12 AM EST, July 1st). Of course, any free agency talk for Cleveland starts with the fact that LeBron James has officially opted out of his contract and is now a free agent. Of course, everyone expects the King to re-sign with the Cavs, and the official line is that he is taking a “wait and see” approach with regards to the Cavs and free agency. Windy reports.

Last week, Cavs general manager David Griffin said the team had been in regular contact with James since the end of the Finals and that he was “very engaged” in discussions about the roster. Sources told ESPN, however, it is James’ intention to stay somewhat removed from the Cavs’ free agency until other free agents are handled.

Translation? James’ cap hold of $21.6 million is less than the free agent contract he will sign later this summer, of about $23 million dollars. But, for maximum flexibility, it may help the Cavs to “officially” sign him last of all. In light of this, let’s take a look at the Cavs options in free agency, both with their own free agents, and prospective ones.

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The Road Forward

Friday, June 19th, 2015

 

Alright so let’s talk offseason moves. Questions by Tom Pestak, answers by me.

If I had to choose between J.R. and Shump I’d go Shump. J.R. is basically a moderately efficient spot-up shooter at this point. With a sprinkling of cross-over stepbacks and 20 point games. But assuming a healthy Irving and Love, spot up 3 point shooting isn’t as critical as stout perimeter D. Nate?

J.R and Shump are fine. Each can play three spots in the Cavs’ system. But Cleveland will still need more wings. J.R. will opt out and command between $6 and $7 million per on a three year deal, with the standard non-fully guaranteed last year. Shump will be the last major guy the Cavs deal with in free agency, unless someone else signs him to an offer sheet, first. I imagine he and J.R. will get around the same sized deals. Shump could get a four year if he wanted, or maybe three year with an opt out.

If the Cavs finally break the curse, will Windhorst have to apologize for his podcast rant last season about how “Gilbert thinks he can buy success?”

Gilbert can buy success this year. The question is, will he? That’s the quarter billion dollar question. If he can get it done for under $200 million, Dan will hold his nose and pay. He’ll also reverse course on the luxury tax system in 2007. Remember, Mr. Gilbert is one of the main guys that wanted this system that, it turns out it, just punishes the competitiveness of small market teams. I bet there’s a lot of ruing going on in the offices of the Q, because the number could be higher than a quarter billion. (more…)

The Point Four-ward: Can He Build It?

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers following their NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors in six games…

1.) As a sports fan, I always dread the morning after a loss. The loss, when it is happening and immediately after, is usually a familiar cloud of disappointment and pizza and nostalgia and beer. Therefore, any real pulse-checking on how truly bad a particular loss is going to feel long term often has to wait until the page has turned and I’m faced with a bright new day.

Waking up on (an unfortunately bright) Wednesday, though, my feeling was the feeling of most Cavs fans — if Twitter is to be believed, anyway (and why should it not?): I just don’t feel too bad after this loss.

This Cavs team has been so much fun to watch — well, since the end of January, anyway — and, really, the Warriors were just too good and too deep to expect a team smarting from missing two of their top three scorers to pull off the seemingly impossible. Sometimes, after all, the seemingly impossible seems impossible because it’s pretty damn near impossible. But, man, how the Cavs fought to make us believe otherwise — that it was possible…. that it was going to happen this year… that it was the Cavs turn at destiny.

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3-on-3: Grind or Go Home Edition

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

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1. What is the most important adjustment for the Cavs to make going into a must win game six?

Tom Pestak: They need to have enough energy to finish the game. The Cavs played well again for three quarters and fizzled out in the 4th. Each time fatigue has been an issue. There are no solutions, just compromises. I think the Cavs need to abandon matching the Warriors’ small-ball-at-all-costs and let Mozgov get in a groove. Just as LeBron was unstoppable in the deep post, Mozgov will manufacture many high-percentage looks too. The key will be having someone cutting hard off ball when Golden State counters with the double teams. He’s the most fresh of the rotation players. They might as well play Mike Miller some more too, since the Cavs didn’t get obliterated with him on the court in game 5. The Cavs should also go to hack an Iggy periodically to 1.) get rest, 2.) stay ahead of the 3-point avalanches. Really, they need to remain mentally focused for 48 minutes. They can’t overreact to a contested Barbosa 3 here or a few Iggy 3s there. When it comes to the scouting report, “stay on target”. (more…)

Talking Cavs with Mark Neal

Monday, June 15th, 2015

The Cavs’ margin for error is razor thin.  Are they exhausted or just getting beat?  Steve Kerr’s new strategy.  Why won’t David Blatt go deeper into his bench?  Small Ball the new normal?  More Kendrick Perkins talk then you could possibly fathom at this point in the season.  Does LeBron deserve the MVP?

Mark and I discuss these topics and more on today’s Dayton Sports Scene.

What are your thoughts?  I’m admittedly a bit salty about the series right now but the Cavs should be commended for making this so entertaining.  One thing I’ve found interesting is the amount of hate Cavs fans suddenly have for Steph Curry.  I’ll admit my gut instinct is to dislike the guy but the longer I think about him and the idea of Steph Curry I calm down and almost force myself to get over my emotions.  But I have a few friends on facebook that are fantasizing about doing some violent things to that mouthguard.  How are you feeling about the baby-faced bobblehead right now?

Finals Game 5 Recap: Golden State 104, Cleveland 91 (or, Maybe Save Something for the Swim Back?)

Monday, June 15th, 2015

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In a fantastically contested game, the Cavs hung with the Warriors for 43 minutes, until two straight Andre Iguodala threes gave the Warriors a seven-point lead. Steph Curry then destroyed the Cavs’ chances with a dancing, playground style, three-pointer and then a layup to put the Dubs up ten. LeBron tried valiantly to bring the Cavs back with a 27-footer, followed by a successful Hack-guodala strategy, but Matthew Dellavedova missed a three that would have cut it to five at 1:39. Then, Steph Curry slung an ice dagger at the net from 29 feet, and routed the armies of the North Coast.

The other lousy bookend to this game, the first five minutes, looked like a plate full of baby puke as the Cavs had only a Delly junkball deuce and five turnovers on their tray. But Cleveland went small, relegating Timofey Mozgov to the bench, and ran with the Dubs till late in the fourth to the tune of 20 lead changes and 10 ties. Cleveland just turned the ball over five more times the rest of the game, but the 11 offensive rebounds surrendered to Golden State were the difference as much as Curry’s shooting.

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NBA Finals Game 5 Quick Hit: Warriors 104, Cavs 91

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

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LeBron James notched another triple double with 40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, but it wasn’t enough to get the Cavaliers a win in Oakland. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 37 points on 7-13 shooting from three and the Warriors pulled away from the Cavaliers late on their way to a 104-91 win and a 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven series.

The Cavs followed the Warriors lead by going small for much of the game. One game after scoring a career high 28 points, Timofey Mozgov played just over nine minutes of Game 5, posting goose eggs on all positive stats. James attacked the basket relentlessly and was much more efficient than in Game 4 where he went 7-22 for 20 points. He finished his second triple double of this Finals series going 15-35 from the field and 7-9 from the line. James even dropped in three triples (in eight attempts).

J.R. Smith had a strong first half, but disappeared in the second finishing with 14 points on 5-15 from the field. Tristan Thompson finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but posted a team-worst +/- of -22 as the Cavs couldn’t hit their big shots late.

Golden State did. Curry was helped by 14 points from Andre Iguodala and a surprising 13 points off the bench by reserve guard Leandro Barbosa.

The Cavs will look to stave off elimination in Game 6 Tuesday night back in Cleveland.

Check back soon for Nate’s full recap.

Game 5 Preview: Running on Empty…

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

It’s almost time for the Cavs first Game 5 of the NBA Finals in franchise history!

But don’t expect LeBron James, David Blatt and the rest of Team Intravenous Fluids to be content resting at this cozy mountain base camp when there’s still the rest of the mountain to climb. Here’s some things to look for going into this critical game against the Warriors safely back in their Golden State:

1.) Much of the narrative following the Warriors 103-82 Game 4 victory over the Cavaliers was that the Warriors had finally “figured out” the Cavs defense. How much that lopsided win had to do with the Warriors cracking the schemes that had been frustrating them through the first three games and how much it was the Cavs exhaustion that prevented the Cleveland players from being as effective against Golden State remains to be seen. The Warriors made some adjustments — particularly the insertion of Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup, relegating Andrew Bogut to just a foul-plagued cameo — that gave the Cavs problems, and the team was still only down by one point with under a minute to go in the third… despite their collective legs joining Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in street clothes. Eventually, the Warriors hit some shots, while the Cavs couldn’t get anything outside the paint to drop — and that’s a narrative that could describe a million different basketball losses more than it sounds like one about a clearly superior team jumpstarting a Midas touch that had mysteriously gone missing for the previous two games. We’ll see.

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Recap: Warriors 103, Cavs 82 (Or, Losing On Their Own Terms)

Friday, June 12th, 2015

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The Cavs’ game plan throughout this series has been to shut down the Splash Bros., and let the Warrior’s role players beat them. Well, they got exactly what they asked for tonight. Steve Kerr switched up his starting lineup for this pivotal game four, and it worked out perfectly. He put Andrew Bogut on the bench and started Andre Iguodala at the four. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot 12-26 for just 31 points. However, Iggy, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green combined to go 18-35 for 52 points. They were 10-21 from beyond the arc.

Steve Kerr also started to double-team LeBron James when he was in the post, and trapped him on pick and rolls. LeBron made the correct passes tonight, but it just didn’t matter. The Cavs went 4-27 from 3-point land. Tonight wasn’t one to remember, but let’s remember it anyways.

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